According to Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL 17th District), the entire Republican staff at the House Intelligence Committee is now under investigation for leaking information. The Office of Congressional Ethics is handling it.
Rep. Rooney says things just got pretty crazy and says the atmosphere on the Committee is now “absolute poison.” Those were his exact words.
According to a report from CBS News, things have gotten so bad, that Republicans on the committee are planning on constructing an actual physical wall between Republican and Democratic staff members in the committee’s secure spaces.
Apparently, the wall was the decision of chairman Devin Nunes, the main author behind the controversial GOP memo that President Trump decided to release recently, despite multiple objections from law enforcement and lawmakers.
“I’m not part of that decision,” said Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas. “You’ve got to talk to Devin. I don’t know what they’re trying to do one way or the other.”
“I swear to God I didn’t know that,” said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Florida, when asked about the plan. While acknowledging a wall might not be constructive for the committee’s work, he said, “The level of trust and the level of everything down there is – it’s poison. It’s absolute poison down there.”
But, Rooney said, that one reason for the wall was due to the erosion of trust caused by the ongoing ethics investigation into “the entire Republican staff,” including “the woman up front that answers the phone, for alleged leaks.
Rep. Adam Schiff, who is the ranking member of the committee, says the office wall would be a horrible idea.
“We have heard reports that the chairman may seek to erect a ‘wall’ to divide the staff of the intelligence committee on a partisan basis — this would be a terrible mistake,” Schiff told CBS News. “While we have more than our share of difficulties, the important oversight work of the committee continues with our staff working together irrespective of party. This would be a very destructive decision.”
So far, no details have been released about the investigation and it’s unclear what evidence has been provided to the Office of Congressional Ethics, but it can’t be good. That’s for sure.